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May 21, 2008

The First Post-American President?

(click for full size)

What's your choice for the key element in this pic, taken on the eve of the Oregon and Kentucky primaries?

The cool shades?
The trooper's wheels?
The flag pin -- BHO's newest fashion accessory and inoculation against swipes at his patriotism?

Well, I would contend it's the copy of Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World.  (Either Obama's half-way through it, or else there's a page he wants to keep his finger on.)

The book makes the point that as power, skill and capacity becomes more distributed around the globe, Washington would do better to encourage this trend and honor it as both a cooperative and motivating factor.

Now, if it was 2004 and this was a photo of Bush, I would say that Rove had an agenda in having his man carry that book around.  In Obama's case, I wouldn't assume, but (photo ops being photo ops) it might be that Barack is seeding the field in drawing a contrast with Bush/McCain over  what constitutes global power.

Book overview: The Rise of the Rest (Zakaria - Newsweek)
Is Our President Learning? (Steve Benen - American Prospect)

(image: Doug Mills/The New York Times. May 22, 2008. Bozeman, Montana. via


That is a very compelling image. I would add the posture, hand in pocket with an easy gate, coupled with the shades. It portrays a relaxed, intellectual candidate. This is a different image of power than we have seen in presidential campaigns.

The last element that I think adds to the visual appeal is the cant of the shot. The background is off-kilter slightly, but he is straight and level. It centers him and conveys a sense of stability against a blurred, off-balance icon of authority.

Don't "F" with me.

Dirty Harry with a Law Degree.

He's the new school candidate. Confident, smart, relaxed, handsome, affable, and completely, utterly cool in his black pants and jacket and white button up. That's what this picture is projecting. He's not afraid of ideas, and the way his posture and lack of tie contrasts with the older white guy in the foreground (with solid brass buttons on his sleeves) is really remarkable.

I thought of Bill Cosby's character Alexander Scott in the 60s spy series, "I Spy". Very athletic, very smart, and very cool.

(Jim Webb looks a bit like Robert Culp, the actor who played Scott's partner, does today. I could get excited about a sequel.....)

Old, white guys are looking to the past, and we are looking beyond them.....

Or to the Bush presidency:

"The difference between you and me is, I make this look good.." (MIB)

Nice to see a prez not afraid of the written word - can't ever imagine a pic like this of Dubya.

A president who actually reads books as opposed to using tham as props. A president with the intelligence to listen to points of view other than those developed in his gut because he doesn't have any thinking power. Wow! Maybe the country will have a chance. Of course much of Obama's success as President, should he be elected, will depend on Democrats having a backbone during hois administration, and that is not likely.

Fareed Zakaria is a neoliberal apologist for American empire. Not knowing what the book was, the photo read like a fashion shot (or shoot), someone most concerned with their appearance. Knowing the book, reminded of his current advisers and his "didn't send enough troops" criticism of the war in the 2004 convention speech which somehow shot him to fame and contender status, I see "yet another asshole" someone who sees the world as theirs to toy with.

First impression was his expression. He seem perturbed. I think his brow is furrowed under those glasses and his mouth does not seem happy. What is he saying I wonder?

Second, my eye goes to the pin. In doing so I notice that he really is dressed well. "Kennedyesque" indeed. Then I muse he really would look better without the pin. The practice is silly, and diminishes our "brand", not to mention obscuring the true meaning of the words "patriot" and "America".

Last, I did note the book, but couldn't discern the title. Upon now reading the text that it is Post-American World (and the rest of the security/anxious context), only one title comes to mind:

"Fighting through the bubble"

I hope that remains the case through his presidency as well.

The first thing I noticed was the easy posture. Only the flag pin looks out of place. But you're right in pointing out the book and the message it sends, deliberately or not.

If he is reading, to say nothing of being influenced by, Fareed Zakaria, then I am worried.

That book is a really clever prop. What he said about our consumption of commodities not necessarily being "okay" with the rest of the world didn't go down well, by itself, but linked to a larger vision, it will be more respectable.

In a previous life I was a trial lawyer. When selecting jury panelists I always noted reading material. What a person chooses to have with them as reading material in a public setting is an insight into whom they believe themself to be as well as whom they wish to portray themself to be.

Whether a conscious photo-prop or an item of actual interest, the presence of a non-fiction book on politics with a forward looking viewpoint tells you a lot about the candidate and his approach to problems. The suit without tie, and the shades, make him look like a new wave jazz tenor saxophonist, an urban sophisticate who thinks and remains calm. All in all, a good visual image.

People do not have to agree with the points of view expressed in books. Liberals read books to find out what the general culture is about, pro and con. That's why librarians are liberals....they read everything!

Obama is relaxed and self-confident...a big difference from "cocky," which is what the present incumbent is. No bully, here.

You guys are kidding me, right? Check out the size of that snake hanging to the right...are you blind?

(It's definitely a copy of The Post-American World.)

The final outcome may not be quite what Nikita Khrushchev envisioned in 1956...

"About the capitalist states, it doesn't depend on you whether or not we exist. If you don't like us. don't accept our invitations, and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not. history is on our side. We will bury you!"

...but they really are going to bury us (and we're paying them to do it).

Perhaps Obama is just getting with the program.

Well, I see the BAG has picked up several ignorant trolls since I was here last. Typically, one even expresses fear about somebody actually reading something. My, how low the neocons go - all the way to somebody's pants.

Why don't you lot bugger off and comment on LGF/Malkin/etc where your stupidity and hatred don't stand out so much.

The coolest of the cool and ging commando.

You guys are kidding me, right? Check out the size of that snake hanging to the right...are you blind?

Heh. Someone definitely prefers Boxers over Briefs... ;)

I can't wait until the trolls discover Hillary has tits, and comments on their size. Oh, wait, they already did that.

How I long for the day that men don't look and comment on every schlong that passes by. What is it with you guys?

The fact that he caved and is wearing the lapel pin tells me all I need to know.

Michael, You are being WAY to nice to Bush to think he's capable of reading a book. Even Rove might have difficulty creating that image as credible! JJ

The tilt makes Obama appear to be taller than the guy to his right.

I say this as a 50 year old grandmother who happens to be a lesbian (ie: Hillary's demographic): This is one fine looking man and anyone who doesn't believe that doesn't matter in The United States of American Idol is delusional. I think it is going to be nice to have eye candy with a brain for the next 8 years. God knows we deserve it after the last 8.

The First Post-American President? ~ who knows ?

BHO certaintly initially sounded like he was a possible,recently his rhetoric has taken on the old familiar tone. I would like to think he doesn't believe a lot of this nonsense but is doing it to garner votes. After reading the following article I wonder whats really in his head.

"This week, Senator Barak Obama traveled to Florida and spoke to Jewish and Cuban-American audiences. In those speeches, he embraced the right-wing policy positions of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and the hard-line program of the most reactionary elements of the Cuban exile community"

Yes, he's got style and the brains. he's the change we've been waiting for. Vote for Obama, visit WHYOBAMA08.ORG!

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